Three women kayak in Martinez Georgia
CSRA Photography

No. 21

Martinez, Georgia

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County: Columbia
Nearest big city: Augusta

If you like to get outdoors, Martinez, Georgia, may be the place for you. The city is home to the Savannah Rapids Park, where the Augusta Canal begins. The canal was built back in 1845 to use the power of the Savannah River to provide nearby Augusta with water, transportation and power for factories. Now, the area offers Martinez residents spectacular views and access to kayaking and canoeing.

For those who prefer solid land, there are several trails along the canal that are popular among joggers, hikers and bikers. The family-friendly trails vary in length, starting at less than 1 mile.

The Reed Creek Nature Park & Interpretive Center, just a few miles from the canal’s headgates, offers classes on everything from reptiles to rocks for kids and guided nature walks for adults. For those who want to enjoy Georgia’s natural beauty without having to exert too much effort, the Augusta Canal National Heritage Headgates Area is a great place for a picnic. Maybe stop by Frog and the Hen, a local market and eatery, and pick up cheddar biscuits and fried chicken sandwiches.

Aside from its ample outdoor offerings, Martinez is in the top five for economic growth opportunity among the 1,200-plus places we considered for our list this year. Of the 50 places that made the cut, it’s number six for job growth over the last five years. The suburb also tied for the third-lowest unemployment rate of any city on our list at just 3% in June, far below the 5.9% the country saw as a whole.

That’s in part to its prime location between Evans, the number one on Money’s 2020 Best Places to Live list, and Augusta, the largest city in Georgia by land and one of the most populous. The surrounding area has displayed that growth potential with the recent opening of the Army Cyber Command headquarters dedicated to defending the U.S. against online threats, as well as a new Amazon facility. –– Mallika Mitra

Martinez, Georgia

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Sources: Population and median household income provided by Synergos Technologies Inc.; unemployment rate (by county) provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics; and median home price provided by ATTOM Data Solutions.

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